Cabela's Pro Ryan Jirik of Rhinelander, Wisconsin was one of over 80 Walleye anglers to take on Devil's Lake in the 2013 National Walleye Tour Championship tournament in September. He had not been to the lake but once before and stated that the lake was 5 or 6 feet lower then. That being said, he did not rely at all on prior knowledge of the lake, but pre-fished heavily for five days with his father, Tom. Ryan did mention that being familiar with the structure in the lake was important at Devil's Lake. He said that if an angler knows where the good structure spots are on the lake and can fish those when the wind is pounding in on them, they will catch fish.
The first day of pre-fishing brought the Jiriks a lot of fish, but Ryan stated he knew they were not tournament-winning fish. A cold front came through to kill the bite at the beginning of the week. Jirik said the bite recovered a little more each day of pre-fish but that another front was due through right around the first day of the tournament. He knew that would make for tough fishing, so he used the days before the tournament to prepare for that as best an angler can.
As Day 1 dawned, Jirik's plan was to hit two different points with slip bobbers to catch a limit. He stated that this is the subtlest of techniques and he often employs it to catch fish in cold front conditions. After that, the plan was to do some rigging and maybe catch an upgrade or two. He stated they didn't move around too much, and it took them all day to catch their fish on Day 1. He came to the scales at the end of the day with 8.14 pounds. It wasn't the weight he was looking for, but he still knew anything was possible on Day 2.
When asked about "dock talk" going into Day 2, Jirik stated that he never holds much credence in that type of talk, but he did feel as though the main area that the leaders were fishing probably wouldn't reload with fish for Day 2. In the locations he was fishing, Jirik knew he was on good rock and would with tight contour lines near deep water. At any time, he reasoned, a school of big Walleyes could show up. On Day 2, he got a quick limit, but they were smaller than his Day 1 fish. Later in the day, after they had leadcored a few spots, Jirik went back to his primary area and started rigging in the trees. That was how he caught some of the nicest fish he had seen all week. In the end, he brought it 9.04 pounds for Day 2. That landed him with 17.18 for his two-day total.
Jirik stated that, although he didn't have his best season this year, he fished hard every day at every tournament. The things he said he will remember most from this year are getting to pre-fish four of the tournaments with his dad, and even fishing one together, and also the two tournaments where his girlfriend, now fiancé, came to cheer him on. Jirik has readied his boat for sale and will buy a new boat next year. Anyone interested may view his YouTube video and learn all about the Ranger. Jirik would also like to thank all of his sponsors: : Cabela's, Ranger Boats, Evinrude , Offshore Tackle, Downriver Tackle, Elk River Custom Rods\, Lucky Craft and Shoeder's Marine. He is looking forward to another great year next year. Anyone wishing to follow Ryan's career may do so by looking for him on Facebook.